Local shops busy on Black Friday
Shoppers at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield on Friday. Recorder/Paul Franz
Shoppers at Yankee Candle on Friday. Recorder/Paul Franz
Anita Hopson of New Rochelle, NY, drops fake snow on her son, Christopher Hopson, 4, in the Barvarian Village at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield on Friday. Recorder/Paul Franz
GREENFIELD — Salvation Army bell ringers, balloons and Christmas decorations lined Main Street in Greenfield on the day after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday, while a steady stream of shoppers entered store after store looking for that perfect gift.
“Things are great,” said Jess Jagodowski, manager of FYE Electronics. “We’re actually seeing a lot more activity than I expected.”
Jagodowski said video games were what shoppers were looking for on Friday.
Carl Heebner, an FYE employee, was dressed as an elf as he handed out fliers to customers and passersby in front of the store.
“We’ve been a little busy today, but the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the really busy day for us,” said Lisa Cocco, owner of Opus on Main Street. “I think people head to the larger stores on Friday to get the deals on appliances and toys.”
Cocco said the day after Thanksgiving is “more like a party” than a shopping spree.
“There’s lots of people in town, either visiting for the holiday or whatever,” said Cocco. “Some of them are just coming by to say ‘hello.’”
Tamara Beauregard, vice president of Wilson’s Department Store on Main Street, said people were at the store’s door Friday morning at 9 a.m., when Wilson’s opened an hour earlier than it typically opens on weekdays.
“We had eight customers at the back door and more at the other doors,” she said. “It’s been steady, but not overly busy.”
Beauregard, like Cocco, said that the Saturday after Thanksgiving tends to be the busier day.
“I think people head elsewhere for super specials,” said Beauregard. “They head out for those early in the morning and then return to Greenfield by about noon.”
She said they seemed to be buying gifts of warmth on Friday.
“We’re selling a lot of items that provide warmth,” said Beauregard. “Down comforters, fleece sheets, scarves, cashmere mufflers and space heaters.”
Mary Walsh-Martel, owner of Magical Child on Main Street, had laryngitis on Friday, but was in the store anyway.
“Business has been pretty good,” said Walsh-Martel. “Strong, actually. That’s typical, though, although Saturday is always stronger.”
She said she didn’t notice a trend toward any particular toy or item on Friday.
Cleary Jewelers on Main Street and The Country Jeweler a few doors down both appeared to be busy around noontime.
Jan Culver, manager of Zemi on Main Street, said she expected business to be decent on Friday.
“It’s just getting started,” said Culver mid-morning on Friday. “It always depends on the year.”
Culver said last year was “really good” and said she was hoping this year would be the same.
“We’re definitely encouraged,” she said.
All in all, downtown merchants seemed happy with the way the day played out. Some said they would be holding extended hours throughout the holiday season.
Just a few miles to the north and south of Greenfield’s Main Street, the parking lots of Kringle Candle Co. on Route 5 and 10 in Bernardston and Yankee Candle Co. on Route 5 and 10 in South Deerfield were almost full. Some shoppers sauntered in and out of the two stores, while others appeared to be on a mission and came out carrying several bags. Cars in those parking lots were from every state in New England and beyond.
While all of that was going on Friday, the Greenfield Business Association was busy decorating about 90 poles throughout the downtown.
Not only will the town replace incandescent light strings with long-lasting warm-white LED lights, but it will also add lights to the top of 35 of the 90 poles.
The GBA is also gearing up for its Home for the Holidays event on Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Veterans Mall on Main Street.
Santa will be on the mall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there will be caroling downtown from 1 to 3 p.m. Our Family Farms will serve hot chocolate beginning at 11 a.m., and the GBA will sell this year’s holiday ornament, which features the former First National Bank on Bank Row.